A black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under the legendary Andre Pederneiras, Marcos Galvao, also known by his nickname “Loro”, has become one of the top MMA fighters in the world after winning the Bellator Bantamweight tournament in 2012. Marcos Galvao also trains with another legend of the sport, Vitor Ribeiro.
2000s Jiu Jitsu
One of the top female jiu jitsu fighters at the turn of the century, Ana Laura Cordeiro became a star fighting for the Gracie Barra camp where she won 4 consecutive world BJJ titles. She was regarded as the top grappler of her generation before Ana Laura Cordeiro suffered a terrible back injury that prevented her from competing at the highest level ever since.
Ricardo Diogo, also known as “Rey” Diogo was one of the first Carlson Gracie jiu jitsu team representatives to come to the United States where he established his own academy based on his master’s teachings.
Marc Laimon is a renowned grappling coach who holds the rank of black belt in Brazillian jiu jitsu, being also the founder of the Cobra Kai academy. Marc Laimon has worked on the ground games of several MMA fighters, including Bas Rutten, Oleg Tatakrov, Mark Kerr, Johny Hendricks and many others, while producing well known jiu jitsu black belts such as Sim Go and Chris Holdsworth. Marc Laimon was also an instructor on the famous MMA reality show TUF (The Ultimate Fighter).
Fernando Vieira is a jiu jitsu world champion as well as world pro cup champion from the city of Manaus. A black belt under Cristiano Carioca, Vieira has defeated several important figures of the sport including Bibiano Fernandes. He has also spent time fighting in MMA.
Nicolas Gregoriades is a South African grappler who was the first jiu jitsu practitioner to have received a black belt from the renowned Roger Gracie. Gregoriades is also an accomplished competitor and one of the founders of the “Jiu Jitsu Brotherhood”, a BJJ community with affiliates all over the world.
Ryron Gracie is the grandson of Helio Gracie and the oldest son of Rorion Gracie, being part of the third generation of jiu jitsu’s most illustrious family. A recognizable figure within the jiu jitsu community, Ryron Gracie became also a familiar face amongst MMA fans after a series of web episodes named “The Gracie Breakdown” Where Ryron and his brother Rener Gracie go over techniques utilized in UFC events. Ryron Gracie is also an instructor at the Gracie Academy.
Mariusz Linke, also known as “Manolo” is a 4th dan judo black belt, and the first Polish national to earn a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Mariusz Linke is one of the main instigators for jiu jitsu in Poland, where he leads the successful Linke Gold Team (an affiliate of Macado Gold Team), holding also several different franchises around Poland. Mariusz Linke has also participated in several MMA bouts having competed internationally in countries such as Brazil and the US.
Josh Griffiths is a BJJ black belt under former UFC title contender Kenny Florian, and the main instructor of the Clockwork Jiu-Jitsu Academy. Josh Griffiths started his career in jiu jitsu under Fabio Clemente of Alliance, and trained with Marcelo Garcia for a long period of time before he severed his ties with the Alliance Academy duo in a well debated case all over the internet which ended in a lawsuit against Garcia & Clemente (later dismissed), and shook the BJJ community back in 2007. Josh Griffiths was also one of the top competitors in the New York BJJ scene with wins at the Pan American Championship as a brown belt and multiple World Jiu Jitsu Pro Cup trials wins.
Frederico Tisi is mostly recognized for being the first Italian to receive a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. A true globetrotter of BJJ, Frederico Tisi found himself travelling all over the world in order to receive adequate jiu jitsu instruction in a time when BJJ was scarce in Europe. Frederico Tisi is also the founder of Tribe Jiu Jitsu, one of the most famous academies in Rome, he is also the founder of the “Unione italiana Jiu Jitsu” an Italian jiu jitsu federation which represents IBJJF in the Italian Republic.
Travis Lutter is a jiu jitsu black belt under Carlos Machado and a former professional MMA fighter, famous for his win of The Ultimate Fighter (season 4) tournament and his run in the UFC’s middleweight division. Before his MMA career, Travis led a very successful grappling one with medals at important tournaments such as the North American ADCC trials and the World Jiu Jitsu Championships.
An accomplished Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt with numerous medals in some of the most prestigious grappling tournaments in the world, Victor Costa is also the founder of Koral Fight Co. a jiu jitsu brand of kimonos and fightwear.
One of the main people behind the organization of the World Professional Jiu Jitsu Cup event, Fernando Paradeda is also a well accomplished jiu jitsu black belt under the legendary Ze Mario Sperry, having been one of the strongest BJJ competitors for Brazilian Top Team in the early 2000’s.
Samy Al Jamal is a 4th degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and one of the highest ranking BJJ coaches of Arabic origin. He has been one of the great propellers for the sport in countries such as Jordan and Palestine where he made BJJ available by starting the very first grappling and MMA academies in these countries (Source MMA), opening it also to women and the under privileged, forming, very possibly, the first women’s BJJ team in the Middle East and the first MMA academy in Palestine.
Considered to be one of the top grappling coaches in Japan, Mitsuyoshi Hayakawa is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt under Master Alexandre Paiva, an achievement accomplished in 2002. Mitsuyoshi Hayakawa is also the leader of the famous Tri-Force academy in Tokyo, Japan.
Ivaniel Oliveira is one of the top Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belts of his generation in the rooster weight division. A pupil of the renowned Cristiano Carioca, Ivaniel has won important tournaments such as the World Cup (WLPJJ & CBJJO) and the Rio International Open (CBJJ), though his difficulty in getting a visa for the USA prevented him to compete at the highest level (the Mundial) for a long period of time.
Considered at one point as the number 2 ranked fighter in MMA’s middleweight division, Paulo Filho is also a BJJ black belt under the late Master Carlson Gracie and one of the most talented fighters of his generation. Sadly, Paulo Filho (a former world jiu jitsu champion) fell victim to depression at the peak of his career, a problem that would damage his career and cause it to end prematurely.
One of the true legends in the sport of MMA, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, also known as “Minotauro” is considered by many the best heavyweight Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has produced in mixed martial arts. With a prosperous career in BJJ in the late 1990’s, Minotauro turned to MMA, where wins over emblematic fighters such as UFC Hall of Fame Randy Couture & Mark Coleman as well as Josh Barnet, Dan Henderson, Mirko Filipovic, Tim Sylvia just to name a few.
The first American black belt awarded by Renzo Gracie, Matt Serra is a former UFC champion and an ADCC silver medallist, considered to be one of the best grapplers produced by Renzo’s academy in New York.
A great martial artis and true competitor, Fernando “Boi” Marques was one of the best heavyweight grapplers of his generation having won a world title in jiu jitsu back in 2001. A black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Master André Pederneiras , Fernando Marques is also an accomplished freestyle and Greco roman wrestler, having won national titles and been a part of the Brazilian national wrestling squad for the Pan Americans as well as a former full contact kickboxer.